Acupuncture is a traditional therapy originating in China almost 2000 years ago. Acupuncture has slowly been growing in popularity in the West, and clinical evidence has shown the potential for acupuncture as a low-cost ‘alternative’ therapy for an assortment of ailments [1]. The practice of acupuncture involves inserting fine needles into the skin followed by needle manipulation, usually by rotation. Recent studies by Langevin et al demonstrate that this rotation causes the subcutaneous connective tissue to couple to and wind around the needle [2–4], which suggests that mechanotransduction in the connective tissue might play a role in the therapeutic mechanisms that underlay acupuncture [2, 3]. To begin to decompose and quantify this complex mechanism at the tissue level in a controlled setting, we have simulated acupuncture in type I collagen gels in vitro, and have developed algorithms to quantify the tissue response following imaging with polarized light microscopy (PLM).

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.